Health Insurance

Senate Considering Legislation to Improve HSA's

The House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation that, among other things, purport to improve and “modernize” health savings accounts (“HSAs”). Both pieces of legislation have been sent to the Senate for consideration. Whether the Senate will take up these bills, let alone approve them “as is,” remains uncertain. There appears to be some bi-partisan appetite to loosen the current HSA rules, which means it is possible that we may see changes to these arrangements, which could be effective as early as January 1, 2019. 

CLICK HERE TO READ A SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES

VISIT CAPSTONE'S HEALTHCARE REFORM WEBSITE: WWW.CAPSTONEHEALTHREFORM.COM

Trump Halts Cost-Sharing Reductions

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the White House indicated that President Trump will end ACA cost-sharing reduction (“CSR”) payments to insurance companies effective immediately. This was followed up by a White House statement indicating that the payments had lacked appropriations and therefore the government could not lawfully continue making them. While the impact to insurance companies and individuals who obtain subsidized coverage in the Marketplace is expected to be significant, the direct impact to employers and employer sponsored health plans is expected to be minimal.

Implications for Employers

The direct impact of this decision is minimal. Applicable large employers (“ALE”) - those with 50 or more full time equivalent employees - are subject to ACA employer shared responsibility “A” or “B” penalties for failure to offer affordable and/or minimal value coverage to fulltime employees, if one or more of those employees obtain a subsidy or CSR in the exchange.

Even if CSRs are eliminated, since a prerequisite to an individual obtaining a CSR subsidy is to qualify for a premium reduction subsidy, there should be no change to an ALE’s “A” or “B” penalty exposure since premium reduction subsidies are not impacted by this White House decision.

Further, since an ALE must make an offer of affordable and minimum value coverage in order to avoid “A” or “B” penalties, we do not anticipate a significant increase in employees forgoing coverage in the Marketplace and enrolling in employer sponsored plans (since those individuals would generally have been ineligible for Marketplace subsidies due to the employer’s offer of affordable and MV coverage in the first place).

Additionally, if carriers exit the Marketplace or otherwise cancel plans in light of this change in policy, employers may see an increase in requests for special enrollment in their group health plans due to the loss of eligibility for Marketplace coverage.

The indirect implications are less clear. Stopping CSR payment will make individual insurance more expensive in the Marketplace. This may lead to carriers dropping out of the Marketplace, or if they remain, pricing plans beyond the reach of those individuals who previously benefited from CSR payments. This will likely result in an increase in the uninsured population. All payers in the health care system are affected by higher costs when there is a high uninsured population receiving uncompensated care.

 

Read more: http://www.capstonehealthreform.com/

New Executive Order and Insight on the Employer Mandate

President Trump signed an Executive Order (“EO”) on October 12, 2017, directing various federal agencies to take regulatory action that will “increase health care choices for millions of Americans.”

Employers should:

  • Be aware that we are likely to see new regulations addressing AHPs, HRAs, and STLDIs in the coming months. While changes to existing AHP and HRA rules are unlikely to affect 2018 plan years, such guidance may create challenges for 2019 and beyond.
  • As the Administration signaled its intent to enforce the Employer Mandate: • Plan for compliance with the 2017 ACA reporting. The final Form 1094-C, Form 1095-C and Instructions are available.
  • Prepare to address any notices issued by the IRS regarding Employer Mandate assessments for the 2015 and 2016 calendar year.

Read More: http://www.capstonehealthreform.com/

Capstone launches site for real-time healthcare reform updates

Capstone Group is proud to announce the launch of a new webpage dedicated to keeping readers informed of recent compliance and health reform updates. Our Benefits Team is committed to providing the guidance needed to understand and make decisions based on the evolving future of our nation's healthcare legislation. 

Visit Capstone's Compliance page...

Benefits of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

As the cost of healthcare in general -- and health insurance specifically -- continues to climb, it's refreshing to find a vehicle that is helping save people money. Health savings accounts (HSAs) are one of the best innovations in health benefits to arrive this century.

The concept behind the HSA is simple, really: It's a tax-advantaged account set up with a trustee that holds money you set aside for the purpose of paying for future medical expenses. Consider the following HSA features and think about whether opening an HSA would benefit you:

1. You save money on insurance premiums

2. Contributions are tax free

3. Qualified distributions are tax free

4. You can keep the money

5. The account stays with you

6. You can make money on your contributions

 

Read more about the benefits of HSAs here